Ex-CIA software engineer found guilty in massive theft of secret info
Ex-CIA software engineer Joshua Schulte has been found guilty in a massive theft of the organisation’s top secret information.
Schulte, who chose to defend himself at a New York City retrial, had told jurors in closing arguments that the CIA and FBI made him a scapegoat for an embarrassing public release of a trove of CIA secrets by WikiLeaks in 2017.
Schulte watched without visibly reacting as U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman announced the guilty verdict on nine counts, which was reached in mid-afternoon by a jury that had deliberated since Friday.
The so-called Vault 7 leak revealed how the CIA hacked Apple and Android smartphones in overseas spying operations, and efforts to turn internet-connected televisions into listening devices.
Prior to his arrest, Schulte had helped create the hacking tools as a coder at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
A sentencing date was not immediately set because Schulte still awaits trial on charges of possessing and transporting child pornography.
He has pleaded not guilty.
Attorney Sabrina Shroff, who advised Schulte during the trial, told Schulte’s mother after the verdict that the outcome was a “kick to the gut, the brain and heart.”
It was unclear if Shroff was expressing her own sentiments or Schulte’s.
Prosecutors alleged the 33-year-old Schulte was motivated to orchestrate the leak because he believed the CIA had disrespected him by ignoring his complaints about the work environment. So he tried “to burn to the ground” the very work he had helped the agency to create, they said.
Schulte has been held behind bars without bail since 2018.